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Think Your Password is Safe and Original? Think again.

By Mary Beth Hamilton,
Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Is your password “123456” or just plain old “password”? If so, you’re not alone. As you’ve likely heard by now, on Sunday night media company-Gawker Media’s user database was compromised by hackers and the passwords of its million plus users where exposed. Over 3,000 people used the password “123456” and nearly 2,000 were using “password” as their password.

Think your name is an original password? Apparently lots of Michelle’s and Jennifer’s did because those made the most common password list as well. Check out the complete list to see if you have a popular password. top gawker passwords

Gawker being hacked is yet another reminder of the importance of having strong passwords and updating them regularly, especially in the hedge fund and investment management industry. Here are some tips to create safe passwords and keep them safe:

  • First off, passwords are essential but simply having one isn’t enough. Remind users not to leave passwords on sticky notes or under their keyboards. One way to remember a new password is to use it immediately and often.

  • Don’t change a password before leaving on vacation or on a Friday, as you’re more likely to forget it when you return to work.

  • A good password is easy for a user to remember but hard for someone to guess, which may sound easier said than done. Think about substituting letters for numbers and vice versa.

  • Avoid using personal information in your password that may be easy for someone to figure out. Things to avoid include your name, address, date of birth, pet’s name and children’s names.

  • Don’t use the same password for all your accounts – switch it up. For example, you can use the same word but change it up by capitalizing different letters or substituting letters for numbers.

  • Be sure to change your password often. We recommend changing a password every 30- 90 days. Many of our clients already have automated procedures in place to enforce this policy.

Concerned about the strength of your password?

Use Microsoft’s online password checker to test the strength of your passwords. Access it here.

For more Security advice, checkout the following articles:

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Source: WSJ, Anonymized set of 188,279 leaked Gawker Media passwords.  Current and former Gawker Media sites are highlighted in red.

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